My Kitchen Rules SA contestants and judges J'Something and David Higgs. Picture: Sean Brand

The drama of the My Kitchen Rules Instant Restaurant phase is over: no more accusations about integrity, no more strategic voting against other teams.

This week on My Kitchen Rules SA, the eight teams will enter MKRSA Kitchen Headquarters in the heart of Johannesburg to receive their first group challenge brief from celebrity judges J’something and David Higgs.

And since they’re playing for a grand prize of R1 Million, they can rest assured that the judges will be setting the bar high.
 
The judges reveal that their very first challenge of the Kitchen HQ rounds will be for 100 hungry members of the public at Johannesburg Zoo.

The contestants will have to cook dishes that are kid-friendly and that also contain ingredients that are quintessentially South African… but what they’ll be cooking for their special guests, and more importantly, how they’ll be expected to cook, is the biggest shock reveal so far.

  My Kitchen Rules SA contestants. Picture: Sean Brand

Who are the eight pairs of contestants? From top to bottom of the leader board from the Instant Restaurant phase they are:
 
Bruce and Claudia (Instant Restaurant score of 72 out of 100)
The happily married “Mr & Mrs” of the competition wowed their fellow competitors and the judges with their unique fusion of Asian and more classical cuisine at their Instant Restaurant. Bruce, a Martial Arts world champion, is not used to losing, while Claudia – the master baker in their team – provides the yin to Bruce’s yang.
 
Liz and Leanne (Instant Restaurant score of 69 out of 100)
Hot on Bruce and Claudia’s heels in the Instant Restaurant phase are Bloem Besties Liz and Leanne. Fans of the show will recognise this pair thanks to their impeccably matched, identical outfits throughout the series. One of two pairs of “farm girls” in the competition, these two do not shy away from speaking their minds. Leanne is a self-confessed venison queen while Liz is the token baker of the pair.

Jamandi and Machiel (Instant Restaurant score of 68 out of 100)
Another pair of Bloemfontein natives, husband and wife team Jamandi and Machiel were at the top of the leader board of the second group of MKRSA contestants. Jamandi and Machiel’s no-nonsense, positive attitudes are infectious, while Machiel’s knack for cracking jokes lightens any tense mood around the table.

Charnell and Kerry (Instant Restaurant score of 67 out of 100)
Representing the City of Gold, best friends Charnell and Kerry were the first pair of cooks to host an Instant Restaurant in Group 2. After starting off with a bang, Charnell and Kerry kept the rest of their competition on their toes in the following weeks by initiating conversations around strategy in this undeniably competitive series.

Brent and Andrew (Instant Restaurant score of 66 out of 100)
With only one point between each of the top three pairs in Group 2, “good guys” and engaged family men Brent and Andrew are all about giving back and celebrating the best that South Africans have to offer. That said, they too have not shied away from voicing their honest opinions about other contestants around the table.

Lani and Louzel (Instant Restaurant score of 64 out of 100)
Mother and daughter duo Lani and Louzel have a no-frills attitude towards creating comfort food straight out of recipe books that have been in their family for generations. The Angora goat farming team, who hail from Cradock in the Eastern Cape, are passionate about any ingredient that can be home grown or that originates from the Karoo – especially the lamb.
 
Rein and Rowan (Instant Restaurant score of 63 out of 100)

“Food dudes” Rein and Rowan from the West Rand of Johannesburg could easily be mistaken for simply being two guys who like to braai. But looks can be deceiving as these water polo buddies like to experiment with various cooking methods and styles and have a keen interest in Asian-influenced cuisine.
 
OG and G (Instant Restaurant score of 59 out of 100)
The “meat guys” of the competition are the only pair of cooks in the series representing the Mother City. The soon-to-be brothers-in-law both have rich family histories with relatives who started chesa nyama businesses and butcheries alike. OG, a retired professional rugby player, has confessed that he’s in this competition to win it with G, due to both of their naturally competitive natures.

  My Kitchen Rules SA contestants. Picture: Sean Brand
 
The team with the lowest score will head into the first sudden death elimination cook-off, while the winning team - as voted for by the public - will receive immunity from the next elimination
 
* My Kitchen Rules SA is broadcast on M-Net channel 101 every Sunday night at 6pm.